Revisiting the steering principal of tropical cyclone motion in a numerical experiment

Wu, Liguang; Chen, Xiaoyu

The steering principle of tropical cyclone motion has been applied to tropical cyclone forecasting and research for nearly 100 years. Two fundamental questions remain unanswered. One is why the steering flow plays a dominant role in tropical cyclone motion, and the other is when tropical cyclone motion deviates considerably from the steering. A high-resolution numerical experiment was conducted with the tropical cyclone in a typical large-scale monsoon trough over the western North Pacific. The simulated tropical cyclone experiences two eyewall replacement processes.

Based on the potential vorticity tendency (PVT) diagnostics, this study demonstrates that the conventional steering, which is calculated over a certain radius from the tropical cyclone center in the horizontal and a deep pressure layer in the vertical, plays a dominant role in tropical cyclone motion since the contributions from other processes are largely cancelled out due to the coherent structure of tropical cyclone circulation. Resulting from the asymmetric dynamics of the tropical cyclone inner core, the trochoidal motion around the mean tropical cyclone track cannot be accounted for by the conventional steering. The instantaneous tropical cyclone motion can considerably deviate from the conventional steering that approximately accounts for the combined effect of the contribution of the advection of the symmetric potential vorticity component by the asymmetric flow and the contribution from the advection of the wave-number-one potential vorticity component by the symmetric flow.

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Wu, Liguang / Chen, Xiaoyu: Revisiting the steering principal of tropical cyclone motion in a numerical experiment. 2016. Copernicus Publications.

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